LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month recognizing the culture and history within the community.
While the demographic has the highest rate of business ownership of all minorities, Asian business owners faced a number of issues brought on by the pandemic.
Cirimille Paglinawan runs the family-owned CMC boutique, which has been in business for 20 years. The boutique sells Filipino clothing and not only survived the pandemic but also the 2008 recession.
We use to sell furniture, that’s how our business started. But when the economic downfall kind of happened, people lost their homes so they couldn’t buy furniture anymore,” Paglinawan said. “We had to think of how to change the business because we didn’t want to lose the business.”
Similar struggles echo for new business owners Geneus, which provides lab services in the valley, opened in January.
Edward Acquino is the CEO of Geneus and says his concern is the impact of inflation on his local business.
“Being a minority-owned business, we don’t feel there are enough opportunities for business owners like us. There are challenges with employment, recruitment, and getting a workforce together,” Acquino added.
Sonny Vinuya is the director of small business advocacy and tells 8 News Now about the resiliency of many of these local businesses, to keep going, which speaks volumes of the culture, diversity, and contributions to Las Vegas.
“When the pandemic hit, every time I talked to a business owner, their number one priority was talking to their employees, like I need to survive for my employees and that’s such an amazing thing to see,” Vinuya said.
Although the Asian community is still reeling in the effects of the pandemic two years later, business owners say community support makes all the difference.
“Post pandemic, the future is very hard to predict now. We’re trying to get by with the resources that we have,” Acquino expressed.
“Something my mom, dad, and I talk about at the end of the day is the relationships we build with customers and they end up turning into family friends, lifelong friends.”